Scripture Memorization for January – Proverbs 4
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 25
Read a previous post from this passage – “Fear Not”
Read “8 Ministry Lessons I’ve Learned” by Pastor Chappell
“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” – (Numbers 15:32-36)
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” – (Exodus 20:8-11)
“And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:” – (Mark 2:27)
In Numbers 15 there is a very interesting story about a man that was caught “gathering sticks” on the Sabbath day. The congregation was not sure what they should do to this man for his violation of the Law, so they went to Moses. Moses wasn’t sure, either, so he went to the Lord, and the Lord declared that the man should be put to death. That’s a pretty harsh punishment for working on Sunday. (I know the Sabbath was on Saturday, but you get my point.) Every time that I have read this story I have thought to myself that the punishment that was inflicted upon this man was too severe for the crime he committed. I think the key to understanding why God did what He did is found in the preceding verses:
“But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” – (Numbers 15:30-31)
God made a distinction between sins of ignorance, and sins of presumption. The word “presumptuous” in the passage literally means to “raise high”, or to “exalt”. This means that the person guilty of presumptuous sins was exalting himself above the law, and in reality, above God Himself. This man was guilty of willful disobedience. In my home there were only three offenses that one of my children could commit which would warrant them a spanking, and one of them was willful disobedience. By the way, the other two were disrespecting an adult, and lying. Anyway, this man in Numbers 15 blatantly ignored the will of God. He lifted himself above God, and above the leadership that God put in place. God wanted to set an example with this man in order to demonstrate to the congregation that a blatant violation of His law was very serious.
There are many lessons that we can learn from this passage, but I will share only two thoughts:
1 God is pretty serious about the Sabbath, meaning that He thinks it is best for us to take one day out of seven, and dedicate it to rest and spiritual refreshment. I relaize that we are no longer under Law regarding the Sabbath, and I also realize that there are occasions where we will be unable to rest or attend church, but the principle of one day out of seven still applies. Be careful about presumptuously ignoring this principle that was designed by God for your own good.
2 God is also pretty serious about willful disobedience (sinning presumptuously). All sin is bad, but there is something more serious about boldly and proudly doing what we know to be wrong. I do not believe that God will kill us today (in most cases) for presumptuous sins, but I do believe that He will eventually chasten severely the child of His that blatantly ignores His will.
We live in the day and time where Christians have the idea that “everything goes”. This is simply not true. Though we have experienced through faith the grace and mercy of God needed because of our falling short of His commands, this does not give us liscence to ignore the will of God. God is still God, and He has the right to order the affairs of our lives. Do not be guilty of exalting yourself above His will by presumptuously ignoring and violating His commands.
Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.